In the mid-1800s, the Simpson family crossed the country in covered wagons on the Oregon Trail. Sylvester Simpson at the time was three years old. After settling in Oregon, he obtained a law degree and married a woman named Mary. They decided to move to San Francisco with their five children and parents in 1879. Grandmother Simpson then decided that the family should look for a place in Marin to build their summer cottage, specifically in Mill Valley.
In 1898, Grandmother Simpson was hiking around Mill Valley when she saw a spot back of “two large redwoods” that looked like the perfect place for a cabin. Grandmother, Grandfather, and Aunt Vera camped at the bottom of the hill near the creek for two to three weeks to determine if it truly was “the spot”.
The cabin was built for $500 and only had a sink and outdoor restroom. By 1899 the family moved in, using the cabin in the middle of the redwoods as a summer home available to friends, family, and other groups such as Berkeley High School. There is a log book that still exists that people wrote in until, at least, 1939:
The cabin was named Burnbrae from the story “Beside the Bonnie Brair Bush” which was a popular Scottish novel in the 1800s. A character was named Burnbrae because of where he live; burn meaning brook and brae meaning hillside.
I am Allie, a student studying biomedical engineering that loves playing soccer, backpacking, and living in Burnbrae when I come home to San Francisco. I thoroughly enjoy telling my friends about the seven switch backs I climb to my front door, the trails leading out of my backyard, the one lane road I follow to my house, the bridge across the babbling creek, the trees through my porch and the hammock strung between them, and my love for my treehouse— they rarely believe me without seeing it for themselves. I will always love Burnbrae, it will always be a part of who I am, which is why I named this blog after it. Until the next time I get to snuggle by the fireplace, pick huckleberries with my huckleberry hound, sit on the porch and listen to the creek, I can remember the beautiful place everyday through this blog. And sorry for my writing skills— I’m an engineer.